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William Edward Marr

William was born December 31, 1880

His parents were John E. Marr and Annie Adam. He was the first of five children.

William married Mary Jane Luttrell on November 26, 1903 in Springdale, Arkansas. They had five children. Irene Annie (September 15, 1904 to January 1970); Thelma M. (July 23, 1906 to September 18, 1995); Ernest Edward (July 31, 1912 to February 21, 1996); Living Daughter (1916); and Living Daughter (?).

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LuttrellsBledsoesMarrs.jpg - 18785 Bytes Alta and Clyde Luttrell, William and Mary, and Olive and Sam Bledsoe

William died March 17, 1967 in Forest Grove, Oregon at the age of 86 years, 2 months, 17 days. He is buried in the masoleum at Forest View Cemetery in Forest Grove next to Mary.

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Family history as told by Mary Jane Marr in the spring of 1964

I will write about our families as I remember and have been told:

The Marr family moved from Scotland to Illinois when Grandpa Marr (John E. Marr) was four years old. The Adam family moved from Scotland when Annie Adam Marr was twelve years of age, locating in Illinois near the Marr family. John E. Marr was born May 14, 1854; Annie Adam Marr was born February 23, 1861. John E. Marr and Annie Adam were united in marriage the second day of November, 1878. Five children were born to them. William Marr, the oldest, was born Dec. 30, 1880. He had three brothers and one sister. One brother passed on in infancy. When William was four years old, the family moved from Illinois to Hamilton Co., Nebraska, where they lived in a sod house. Soon after they arrived, they had a wind storm that blew the roof off the house during the night and left them in the rain. They finished the night in the barn and a neighbor gave them breakfast. Then they moved to Grandpa Adams until they got the roof on the soddy. In '94 or '95 the drought got so bad they moved from Nebraska to Arkansas and located near Mountain View. William attended Normal College at Pearidge, Ark., in 1901-1902, graduating in bookkeeping and banking. Gen. Douglas McArthur was in school there at the same time.

It was near Mountain View, Arkansas, that William Marr and Mary Luttrell met at Sunday school in the spring of 1898, and we have been going steady ever since. We were married Nov. 26, 1903. We were to have been married in July but my father took ill with typhoid fever. He only lived two weeks, passing away July 14, 1903. Then Mother had the fever and lay for 90 days before she passed away (Octobor 4, 1903. It was very hard for me to leave that little family. Irvin was only 14 months old, but Grandma said that I had kept William waiting long enough and that she would stay with the children for a time. William and I lived on a farm near Mountain View until March, 1909.

When Thelma was four months old, Irene and I had typhoid fever. We were down all winter. We had a woman helping us who worked six days each week for $2.00 per week. William took care of us on Sundays and during the night fixed bottles for Thelma. We almost lost Irene. She forgot how to eat food and had to learn all over. She had lived on drugs mostly. Our well had the germs. George Marr had the fever and two other people that worked there and drank from this well (we had hired help that fall).

Grandpa John Marr took a trip to western Nebraska in the summer of 1908 and filed on a homestead. He wrote William to come out. So he went out in October and got his land joining his fathers. They could have six hundred forty acres. He returned as we didn't have to be on it for six months, but Grandpa stayed in Nebraska. Then in March, 1909, we with our two girls, Irene and Thelma, and Grandma Marr and her youngest son, Harry, sold out our belongings, chartered a car (a box car on a freight), took some chickens, our furniture, farm machinery, and moved to the homestead. William and Harry traveled with the emigrant car. Grandma, the girls, and I took the train and stopped over in Aurora, Nebraska, to visit Aunt Grace Anderson and family (Grandma's sister), also two brothers (the Adam boys). There at Aurora vie had our first car ride, a Model A. A friend took us to the train on Sunday morning. Two little girls, age two and four, were really thrilled as well as the big girls. When we arrived in Nebraska at our homestead it was still cold and freezing. We stayed at the hotel for nearly a week until they could get the car unloaded. They had to get a team and the homestead was eight or nine miles from Bingham where we landed. Our emigrant car was extra wide. While it was on the siding, a passenger train came through and the brakey stuck his head out to wave a signal; he hit the corner of our car and just cut his head right off. That was a terrible start for us. The train men had set it, not noticing it was a wide car, so we didn't get any blame on our part.

Grandpa Marr had built a 16-foot frame barn on his land. We all moved to his barn (seven of us), and the boys built them a three-room soddy, but they didn't get if finished until July. Then they went to our land and built a 16-foot sod room and put down a well. It was easy to get water--pushed a pipe down about 20 feet and put a pump on it and you had lots of nice soft water. We didn't get moved to our own place until the last of July. Grandpa Marr (age 55) became sick (cancer of the kidneys) in May, 1909, and passed away the 23rd of July, Thelmas birthday.

We moved home to our sandhills just a mile away, but it seemed a long way as we didn't have a neighbor or a house in sight. We built a sod barn, bought five milk cows from a rancher, got a cream separator and some pigs to feed the milk to. We took the cream to Bingham and they shipped it east to Hastings, Nebraska. The cream was sent each week and we got a check each month. We churned cream for our own butter. There was plenty of time to churn our butter and bake bread as there was no place to go. We drove to Bingham to church every three or four months. We did have company real often, once every month or two. A family by the name of Anderson lived at Bingham on a ranch. They drove down one morning. We never thought about them staying over night, but they didn't say anything about going home. They had four children and we just had that one room with a ladder and loft up above. So the four of us climbed up the ladder and gave them the only room we had with one door and one window. The room contained a large coal range, a large walnut chest of drawers where we stored all our belongings (no closets for our clothes), a large homemade cupboard for the dishes, pots, and pans, and one bed, a table and six chairs. We would make a bed on the floor each night for the girls.

We got a telephone soon after we arrived on the homestead. It was a life saver at times. The land was all fenced with barbed wire so the connection from the phone was just tied to the fences (had to connect over the gates and places like that). The lightening would strike and burn it out quite often. That happened the night before Ernest was born and we couldn't get a doctor.

Irene and Thelma had boxes piled up by the side of the house where they played. One morning they came running in and said, "Mama, come quick! The chickens and turkeys are having church." I knew it was a snake so ran out and got the hoe. It was a big rattlesnake that had come from their playhouse. I hit for its head but just got the rattle (broke the hoe handle). It was headed for the barn. I found a post and as it went over the sill at the barn door I got a lick at him that finished the job. I didn't want him in the barn without his rattle.

In 1911 we decided that we might make our permanent home on the homestead. So the boys, William and Harry, built us a 24-foot sod house and partitioned it with lumber. We had a front room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a small room off the kitchen for the separator. They had built around the well so it was in this small room off the kitchen. They put a pitcher-mouthed pump on it and we had water in the house. But soon after we got in this house an awful blizzard started during the night, lasting all the next day and the next night. The telephone was out and we were really isolated; also we were low on coal and provisions. The boys had planned to go to Bingham for coal and provisions that very day. I was so glad it started at night for if anyone had been out in it they never could have found their way to shelter. William had hay in the barn loft that he threw down on the cows backs. The cows were so thick they couldn't move about. They did without water. The big ranchers lost nearly all of their cattle as it came in the spring after they were turned out on the range. They drifted into the lakes and pockets in the hills and froze to death. They skinned and shipped out hides by the carloads. This blizzard caused us to decide right then that we didn't want to spend our lives in that country among storms and rattle-snakes.

July 31, 1912, the stork visited us and left us a boy, Ernest Edwin Marr, making us a family of five. We had no school nearer than Bingham (8 miles away) and two girls of school age. So we began to plan for a move. We first thought we would locate in Montana as we had literature boosting the state. Then we had literature from Wallowa County, Oregon. We finally deoided that was the place for us. On December 11, 1913, we packed our suitcases and took the train for LaGrande, Oregon, landing there three days later. Everything was covered with snow. We arrived late and missed our train to Enterprise, so we put up at the hotel and got to the end of our journey the next day. At LaGrande we took a walk to look for some fresh fruit as we hadn't had any thing like that in Nebraska. We saw some nice apples in a grocery store so stopped in and asked if we could buy 10 cents worth. The groceryman got the largest sack in the store and filled it so full he couldn't close it at the top. We told him we only wanted 10 cents worth and he said, "That's it." So we ate all we could that day and took them to Enterprise the next day. We had to put up at the hotel there for almost a week before we found a place to live. When we found a place, it was just an old store building with two rooms, but we spent the winter there. In the early spring we found a four-roomed house furnished that we could rent and buy the furniture for two hundred dollars. William got a job on the dray line. He had to meet the trains, get the mail and parcel post and sometimes freight. One Sunday morning when he was at the depot to pick up the papers and passengers, the team ran off a.nd left them standing. As it happened, no one was in the rig, and a good thing as it was smashed. He kept the job as long as we stayed there. The last of June, 1914, a hard freeze came, killed all the gardens and everything, so we decided that wasn't the place we were looking for. We gave up the job and found a renter for the house. He gave us the two hundred dollars for our furniture and we checked our baggage to Salem, Oregon. We came to Portland the 29th of June. Such a hot day! We stayed overnight at the hotel; the next morning we took a street car to Council Crest to look over Portland. We came back to the hotel and decided it would be cooler in a smaller place, so we came out to Hillsboro. We stopped there at an old hotel that stood where Weils big store is now. We knew there were some Nebraska friends of the Marr family living around Hillsboro so we made inquiry for the Jemison family. Someone said that they lived south of town so we run them down, but it wasn't the right family. Next day William found someone that told him they lived north of town. He walked out and found them and when he returned late in the evening he had their horse and buggy to take us out, and they wouldn't let us leave until after the fourth of July. Mr. Jemison told us we didn't want to go to Salem because around Hillsboro was the best part of Oregon. We rented a house near these friends. William helped the neighbors thresh and bale hay for two or three weeks. Then a large hop grower nearby needed a foreman, so we took that job for forty dollars per month; the help got twenty-five dollars per month. We saved four hundred dollars in that 14 months. Mr. Bagley, the hop grower, had hired men that I cooked for at 20 cents per meal. Of course we bought the groceries. Since we had three or four men during the crop season, the 69 cents per day for each man was enough to about furnish food for our family. There was a good garden growing, and we got to use plenty of apples, berries, and cherries. They had two nice cows. We had to milk them and send the milk to Hillsboro to the Carnation plant. We were to have one quart per day, so we had to buy some canned milk or pay them for any extra that we used. There was a small chicken house and a few chickens. I think we got most of the eggs, which wasn't many; it all helped out. We bought fruit jars and canned all the fruit we could for winter as we were very hungry for fruit. The hop picking started about the fifth of September. The girls and I picked hops. The girls earned enough money to buy them a new coat and hat. I don't remember what I spent mine for. Ernest was just passed two years old, so I put him in the hop basket and picked hops around him. He kept them packed for me and when my basket was full it was plenty heavy.

We worked through the next year's hop season but were looking for a place to rent. One day they were just about through bailing hops. They had baled a few more than on any other day, so they quit ten minutes before six and Mr. Bagley fired the foreman (William). A German boy, Arthur Japal, who was working there said, "If you are fired I am going too." Old Mr. Bagley came to the barn where they were putting the horses in and picked up a hammer and said he would kill William but William took the hammer out of his hands, threw it away, and told him to go on home and cool off. He said, "I will send the law out tonight to put you out of the house. William said, "I am not getting out tonight; I will get out in the morning." Mr. Bagley said, "I will be out in the morning with my shotgun and if you are not out I will kill you." But he didn't show up, nor the law. But one of our good neighbors, Mr. Pranger, came with his wagon and team, loaded it with our belongings and stored it in his barn right in the wagon. He said that when we found a place he would bring it to us. They took us in, also Arthur Japal, who was about 20 years old. Mrs. Hanley, daughter of Mr. Bagley whom we worked for, called and insisted we come and stay with them. She asked us if we wouldn't like to go to the beach at Rockaway for a week. She said it wouldn't cost us anything, only the train ride and our eats. She and her daughter would go with us, also Arthur Japal. There was a stop station on the ranch where we worked. Bessie Hanley, the daughter, was in high school in Hillsboro. On Saturday morning she came out on the train. We met the train and were soon on our way out through Banks and over the hills to Rockaway. We all enjoyed the rough, bumpy train ride and had a wonderful trip. Mrs. Hanley had fixed a wonderful lunch for us to have on the train and her brother, George Bagley, had a lovely beach house right on the beach that we could use for a "Thank You." It had four lovely bedrooms upstairs, large living room with a large fireplace--the most modern home we had ever been in and we enjoyed it for a full week. We returned the next Sunday, stopped off in Banks, and spent the night in the hotel. Mrs. Hanley, Bessie, and Arthur Japal continued on to their home near Hillsboro. The next morning our Daddy Marr walked from Banks to the Kansas City Community where he had rented the place that is now the Marr ranch. This Mr. Jemison had bought the ranch and was building the old house over, but his wife became sick and had surgery so couldn't go to the place to live. He brought his team and wagon to Banks and took us out. William sent word to Mr. Pranger by Arthur to bring our household goods up that day and to bring two tents as the house wasn't ready for us. We set the tents up in an old apple orchard there between the house and barn, put the girls in school, and started life in a new country among strangers. We had close neighbors and we weren't strangers very long. We lived in the tents for about three weeks. Then we moved to the home that was all worked over. It looked new with new paint and paper inside and the outside was painted a light blue gray. The same well that is there now was close to the house under a woodshed that we had to keep the wood dry. We got a team and machinery and got the grain in that fall. Everything looked fine and the first of June the Jemisons visited us for a few days and sold us the place. That was 1916. (Mrs. Jemison lived until Marjorie was 14 years of age. She was sick with cancer all those years and had surgery several times.) That fall on the eighteenth of September the stork visited us again and left a girl. We named her Ava Grace, then nick-named her Wilma for her Dad. Grandma Marr suggested this as she was afraid we would never have a William Jr., and we didn't.

When Wilma was three or four years old she was very afraid of everything, always seeing something that wasn't there. I tried to show and tell her it was only imagination. One night she was looking out the low kitchen window. The light was shining on the grass. She said, "Mama, I see a great big white thing out the window that looks just like old Whity. I guess its imagination." I told her she was right and we would go out and I would show her what imagination was. She didn't want to go but she did. She was never so afraid any more. Old Whity was one of our cows.

After two or three years we got strawberry plants from our neighbor and they grew so nice. They had such heavy yield of large, luscious berries that we decided to save all the plants and set an acreage. We had four or five acres of new ground east of the house set to prune trees. We set four rows of berries between the rows of trees, and the next spring we had such a wonderful crop of berries we had all our neighbers far and near, old and young, helping us to harvest that crop of berries. Grandpa Marr had the car all loaded the night before and then got up at 4 o'clock and drove to Portland to the Public Market. He had a woman there that sold the berries for him. He was back by eight thirty or nine. An old man in Banks by the name of Smith had a little truck and did hauling. He would leave at noon with a load. That way we saved all the crop. Then the next year the Hillsboro Cannery came out and wanted to buy them for jam so we sold to them. They wanted us to set out more and got everybody around to setting berries. They got down in price to 2 and 3 cents per pound and William started the gooseberry business the same way. He was the first to grow berries commercially in Oregon. At one time we had 25 acres. Our pickers were mostly Catholics from Roy and Verbort and they were all wonderful workers. Many changes have taken place in these 40 years or more, but Oregon still grows lots of strawberries. After we bought the place William had to grub out stumps and clear about half of it (70 acres). I was so worried all the time he was using blasting powder as it looked so dangerous. My brother Frank came out from Arkansas and stayed with us the first winter and helped with the land clearing.

When Ernest was six years old, just starting to school, he drank water from an old well in Schofield and got typhoid. He became sick Thanksgiving Day. We had a trained nurse with him for eight weeks. He was sick for three weeks before we knew what he had. The doctor called it rheumatic fever. The doctor was telling me about the epidemic in Schofield and I told him we were up to Schofield one hot day and we all drank water from a well, the only one there that hadn't run dry. After eight weeks the nurse left, saying she couldn't do any more as Ernest couldn't live. The doctor said the same. He was just able to sit up when school was out in the spring.

A neighbor gave Ernest a little dog (his name was Buster) when he was four years old and they were real pals. When he was six and starting to school, Buster wanted to go also. He walked up to the first corner with Ernest and. Ernest would say, "You stay here." Buster would sit down and wait until Ernest disappeared at the next corner, then come back to the house. He escorted him to this corner every morning and after two or three days he would go up to the corner about two o'clock and wait for Ernest to come in sight, then he would go and meet him and walk home with him. When Ernest took the fever, Buster was lost. He would go out to the corner and wait in vain. After a few days we opened the door and asked Buster to come in and see Ernest. He put his paws up on the bed. Ernest put his hand on his head and told him he was sick. Buster didn't go to the corner any more. One warm day in the spring I carried Ernest out to the dining room and set him on a chair. The door was open. Buster came to the door, gave one bound and had his head in Ernest's lap. I thought he was going to knock him off the chair.

After Ernest was older he had a pup named Jack. He loved to play hide and seek with him. He would leave the house for the barn, tell Jack to wait there. As soon as Ernest got out of sight, he would go and dig him out of the hay mow or any place.

The stork visited us again Nov. 18, 1923, and left another girl, Marjorie Helen, and that was our family--one boy and four girls.

Marjorie had a cat that played with her. She would set it up in the fork of the locust tree in the backyard and throw a little ball to it. It would catch it in its paws. After a few times when she went out to play with the ball, the cat was right there and up the tree for a ball game.

William also had a cat on the ranch that would get up on the gate post when he started to the barn with the milk pail. As he passed through the gate the cat would jump on his shoulder and ride to the barn for his breakfast of warm milk.

Grandma Marr visited us one time in Oregon, coming out two or three days before Christmas with Aunt Maud and her family. Aunt Maud's family visited us for a month and Grandma visited us for about nine months. I think that was 1921 (Wilma was five years old). Grandma Marr was a tall woman, very straight and slender, very neat, dainty, and nice--just like a mother to me.

Grandpa (William) was 83 the 30th of December, 1963; I was 81, October 20th, 1963. We have 14 grandchildren, 21 great grandchi1dren. We have been a real fortunate family. We have had some very bad sickness in the families, but not a death in the immediate family in all these 60 years. God has certainly been good to us. We have so many things for which to be thankful. We celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary on the 26th of November, 1963, at the First Christian Church in Forest Grove, Oregon, with about two hundred relatives and friends to greet us and to wish us well.

Irene was our oldest. She was married to Loyd Anderson April 4, 1926. She had just finished high school. They have two daughters. Ruth Eileen, the oldest, graduated from Monmouth (Oregon College of Education) and taught for a while. She married Robert Vincent. They have two girls, Carol and Jan, and now live in Fort Collins, Colorado. Donna Mae Anderson married Gordon McMinn. They bought 45 acres from Grandpa Marr, built a home on it, and are living in the country in the Kansas City Community. They have two children, Anne and Mark.

Thelma finished high school at Banks, graduated from Monmouth with a life certificate. She taught at Greenville until she was married to Charles Sellers on Sept. 14, 1929. They have four girls. Mary Jane and Ellen Faye live in Beaverton. Jane has two boys and two girls (Danny, Thelma, Wilma Jo, and Paul); Ellen Faye has five boys and one girl (Chuck, Lynn, nddie, Tommy, Laurie, and Alan). Charlene was married in 1962 and lives in Hillsboro. JoAnn is still at home in Beaverton. She is a junior in high school. Ernest finished high school at Banks and went to work with his Dad on the ranch. He was married to Myrtle Sandy Sept. 2, 1933. They have two children, Darlene and Marvin. Darlene is married and has two boys, Kenneth and Kelvin. Marvin has a girl and a boy, Tamara and Bradley.

Wilma finished high school at Banks, attended Pacific University one year and went one summer at Monmouth. She had been a chum of Fern Stafford during high school. The Staffords moved to Taft, Oregon. Fern met a young man at the coast and they were to be married. She asked Wilma to be her bridesmaid. So Wilma went to the coast and spent a week with the Staffords. When she returned home she was wearing a diamond. Fern had a brother that had been in school with them. So Wilma was engaged to Fern's brother, Albert Stafford. She was just 18 so we persuaded her to put off the wedding until March 1,1936. They lived at the coast for a time, finally moved out to Banks on a little farm that belonged to Albert's father. Then they bought a farm near the Marr Ranch. They have two children. Yvonne, the oldest, is married and has three little gi:,ls, Susie, Debora, and Angela. William is married, lives in Portland, and works in a bank.

Marjorie finished grade school in Forest Grove, also high school. She had one year at Pacific University and graduated from Monmouth (Oregon College of Education). She taught at Springfield, then in Forest Grove. She and Eugene Freeman were married May 25, 1946. They have four children, Linda who is the oldest and is married, Robert, Caroline, and John. Marjorie is still teaching.

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